Obama's Reason for Closing Gitmo: "It Looks Bad"

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Let's be clear: President Obama gives us only one single reason why the detention facility at Guatanamo Bay needs to be closed: because it makes us look bad. Because it is a negative symbol.

That's it. There's literally no other reason that he gives us. You might think that's reason enough, but we've never really had that debate, and Obama throws in sufficient fallacious arguments around it to ensure we won't.

He spent a significant amount of time talking about how Gitmo is bad because torture is bad, but by all accounts we have not tortured (by either his, or Vice President Cheney's, definition) there for years. This was perhaps the most dishonest part of his speech: taking credit for banning techniques that had been banned and were not in use.

Obama also spent a significant amount of time showing that we can put these detainees into a legal framework without Gitmo, but that's no reason why we need to do so. Why incur the costs of shutting down Gitmo if there's no need? He doesn't say, of course.

Insofar as his arguments that a Gitmo-less system can work, Obama did a fair job. I accept that we can deal with these prisoners through our federal system if necessary. But he did not give us any reason beyond symbolism why it's necessary. He never has, and I suspect he never will.

He sought to defend his positions using red herrings, straw men, and dissembling. He continued to attack Bush (often falsely, such as the entirely unproven and partisan line about covering up facts to fit the agenda) to distract from his own policies, just like he did during his campaign: he sets up the false dichotomy that if you disagree with Bush, then Obama's way is the only alternative. Bush is to blame for bad things, so therefore, you must agree with Obama. Nevermind that Obama cannot connect the dots, or explain his own positions (Obama to this day has never told us just how Bush's policies caused the recession; but nevermind that, Bush is to blame, so we must do the opposite of Bush to fix the problems!). All you need to remember is that Bush is Bad, so Obama is Good.

Obama claimed to be all about transparency, despite the huge number of fallacies he threw into this speech in order to cover up true examination of his actual arguments, which are, at root, extremely weak. slashdot.org

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"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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